Close

All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

Students Help Their Department Move Online

Evan and DarrenWhen the pandemic cost them their co-op placements, Physics students Evan Vienneau and Darren Tran were recruited to help their department prepare for online teaching and learning.

Darren was in the Netherlands working with a company that produces single photon detectors while Evan was tutoring in the math learning centre at Mohawk College. When their placements abruptly ended, the Department of Physics & Astronomy received funding from the Dean's Office to hire Evan and Darren. The duo spent the summer helping faculty members and students prepare for online teaching and learning.

Darren (pictured right) and Evan researched best practices and then shared their findings in workshops with instructors and teaching assistants. Their work led to a departmental Microsoft Teams community that discusses online teaching along with weekly online Physics teaching drop-in sessions. Darren created an extensive student manual to help students succeed in their online first-year Physics course. The manual includes study tips and explanations for basic concepts. Evan created an online module to help students get started with the Python programming language. His module will soon be available in Avenue to Learn's Learning Object Repository.

"It feels great to know that fellow undergraduate students are benefiting from the Python module that I developed, especially considering how daunting it can be to get started in programming," says Evan.

"I am proud of the projects that I worked on and hope they helped professors and students adjust to online learning," says Darren. "I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop on online learning to all my professors which was a formidable yet rewarding experience."

Evan and Darren were supervised by professor Cecile Fradin, who credits sustained and invaluable help from Sara Cormier, along with Miranda Schmidt, Rob Cockcroft and Reza Nejat. "I found it particularly useful to learn how to see things through their eyes," says Cecile. "Evan and Darren helped broaden my perspective from a 'how can I help our instructors" to also include "how can I help our students".

So after exploring best practices in online teaching and learning, what advice do Darren and Evan have for faculty members and students?

"I would say that patience and understanding is key to thriving in our current situation," says Evan. "Both profs and students have been thrown into this nearly 100 percent online world and are just trying their best. I think that mutual understanding is important to uphold during these times."

"Have empathy for one another," adds Darren. "We are in unprecedented times and there will be growing pains that come with adjusting to online learning and teaching. Have open conversations about the courses you are taking or teaching and what methods are successful and what methods need to be re-evaluated."

Darren adds that he's now more disciplined with time management after researched best practices in online learning. "Keeping track of time is hard when you're stuck inside all day so I've had to make sure to set up time to relax, talk with people and take care of mental well-being while also making sure I am on top of my classes." Evan says he's more aware of which online methods best suit his personal learning style.When the pandemic cost them their co-op placements, Physics students Evan Vienneau and Darren Tran were recruited to help their department prepare for online teaching and learning. 

Darren was in the Netherlands working with a company that produces single photon detectors while Evan was tutoring in the math learning centre at Mohawk College. When their placements abruptly ended, the Department of Physics & Astronomy received funding from the Dean's Office to hire Evan and Darren. The duo  spent the summer helping faculty members and students prepare for online teaching and learning. 

Darren (pictured right) and Evan researched best practices and then shared their findings in workshops with instructors and teaching assistants. Their work led to a departmental Microsoft Teams community that discusses online teaching along with weekly online Physics teaching drop-in sessions. Darren created an extensive student manual to help students succeed in their online first-year Physics course. The manual includes study tips and explanations for basic concepts. Evan created an online module to help students get started with the Python programming language. His module will soon be available in Avenue to Learn's Learning Object Repository.

"It feels great to know that fellow undergraduate students are benefiting from the Python module that I developed, especially considering how daunting it can be to get started in programming," says Evan. 

"I am proud of the projects that I worked on and hope they helped professors and students adjust to online learning," says Darren. "I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop on online learning to all my professors which was a formidable yet rewarding experience."

Evan and Darren were supervised by professor Cecile Fradin, who credits sustained and invaluable help from Sara Cormier, along with Miranda SchmidtRob Cockcroft and Reza Nejat. "I found it particularly useful to learn how to see things through their eyes," says Cecile. "Evan and Darren helped broaden my perspective from a 'how can I help our instructors" to also include "how can I help our students".

So after exploring best practices in online teaching and learning, what advice do Darren and Evan have for faculty members and students?

"I would say that patience and understanding is key to thriving in our current situation," says Evan. "Both profs and students have been thrown into this nearly 100 per cent online world and are just trying their best. I think that mutual understanding is important to uphold during these times."

"Have empathy for one another," adds Darren. "We are in unprecedented times and there will be growing pains that come with adjusting to online learning and teaching. Have open conversations about the courses you are taking or teaching and what methods are successful and what methods need to be re-evaluated."

Darren adds that he's now more disciplined with time management after researched best practices in online learning. "Keeping track of time is hard when you're stuck inside all day so I've had to make sure to set up time to relax, talk with people and take care of mental well-being while also making sure I am on top of my classes." Evan says he's more aware of which online methods best suit his personal learning style.
Go Back
McMaster University | Faculty of Science